7 Cubs Named 2020 Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists

Rawlings announced the finalists for their 2020 Gold Glove Awards Thursday afternoon and several Cubs made the cut. This year’s awards are being determined a little differently, with the SABR Defensive Index serving as the only criteria in the selection process. Those metrics had previously accounted for approximately 25%, with votes from managers and coaches comprising the rest, but there are no votes this year.

The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts. The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and Runs Effectively Defended based on STATS Zone Rating and built by SABR Defensive Committee member Chris Dial.


The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total Zone Rating.

The Cubs have x players among the finalists, at least one of whom was a big surprise. Both Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills are up for a Gold Glove this year, along with Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, Nico Hoerner, Javy Báez, and Jason Heyward.

Hoerner’s selection is interesting, largely because he didn’t get everyday playing time as the season went along and he struggled at the plate. But hey, Ben Zobrist got a nod as a finalist a couple years ago, so the numbers obviously like Cubs second basemen whose defense otherwise goes overlooked.

Contreras being among the finalists is a testament to all the hard work he put in over the offseason and during the shutdown to get quieter and improve his skills behind the plate. Even if you’re not a big fan of framing, his handling of borderline strikes, particularly at the lower portion of the zone, was vastly improved.

The winners will be named on Tuesday, November 3 at 7pm ET on ESPN.


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